On-again off-again negotiations between the WGA and the Association of Talent Agents for a new franchise agreement have hit another snag.
The two sides have only met twice since February 5, but on Tuesday, the WGA proposed meeting again this week. The ATA, however, told the guild it wants assurances the WGA is open to compromise before meeting again, and is awaiting a response.
“If they’re not willing to compromise, what’s the point of returning to the bargaining table?” a knowledgeable source said Thursday. “They’re still waiting to hear back.”
The WGA has already said there’s no room for compromising on its key proposals, which include a ban on packaging and stopping agencies from providing content-related services to their production affiliates, which the guild calls “conflicts of interest” that violate agents’ fiduciary duties to their clients. Both sides have also threatened to sue each other.
“There are negotiations where there is no middle ground, where there are basic principles that are not subject to compromise,” WGA West president David A. Goodman said at a February 13 membership meeting.
WGA West executive director David Young has also told ATA executive director Karen Stuart that she should be prepared to address all of the guild’s proposals – all 33 of them – the next time they do meet.
The guild, meanwhile, met with personal managers today to enlist their support in the event it orders its members to abandon their agents on April 6 when its current agreement with the ATA expires.
Sources say the managers wanted assurances that the guild would not be coming after them next after the WGA finishes its “divide and conquer” campaign against the agents. Unlike agents, managers are not licensed by the state and are not franchised by the guild, and are allowed to produce projects to which their clients are attached.
There’s growing concern that managers will be next on the WGA’s hit list.
“There’s a lot of anxiety on all sides right now. Everyone’s concerned where this whole thing’s heading,” said a manager who attended the meeting, describing it as “contentious.”
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